Yamaha target new Jorge Lorenzo deal

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Yamaha has insisted it intends to keep current MotoGP world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Italian star Valentino Rossi together in its factory line-up in 2011.

The future of both Lorenzo and Rossi has been the subject of intense speculation recently, with the Spaniard locked in negotiations with Ducati and Honda.

Rossi’s plans for 2011 have yet to be finalised too, though the 31-year-old seems adamant that he will remain with the Japanese factory until the end of the 2013 campaign at least.

Speculation has also been rife that Yamaha’s dream team will be split at the end of 2010, with the cash-strapped Japanese factory simply unable to afford nine-times world champion Rossi and emerging star Lorenzo.

Lorenzo’s stock is rising dramatically with the 23-year-old riding high at the top of the world championship standings after successive victories in Jerez and Le Mans.

And Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis has clarified his intention by confirming he wants to keep Lorenzo and Rossi together next season.

Jarvis told MCN: “I think Yamaha is the right environment for Jorge and I said this to him last year when we renegotiated his contract. There was a strong approach from Ducati and he chose to stay with Yamaha.

"I think his results speak for themselves and we have seen him again maturing as a rider this year and he is leading the championship. I think the future is as rosy for Lorenzo as it is for Valentino at Yamaha.

"But at the end of the day we will make our proposal within the scope of what we can and he has to choose his own destiny. A lot depends on the recovery of our business.

"It has been so far so good with Valentino and Jorge in the same team and it is not easy. It is always easier to have one lead rider that gets the priority on everything.

"In a situation where you have two people challenging for the championship you have to divide your resources and attention on two and that is not easy.

"It also makes it easier for a competitor to make an attractive offer because looking at our competitors at the moment we are the only ones to have two of the four aliens as they are known.

"If they should choose to replace one of their current riders they could offer whoever it is a priority.

"I think so far we have managed it well but there is always a certain tension in the air because we have got them both fighting at the front. They both want to win and they both are incredibly competitive.

"But my objective is to try and keep the two of them together because I think that the situation today is the same as it was last year.

"We have a fantastic rider in Valentino Rossi who is at the top of his game having won us four championships so far, so he is still a huge hero and personality and competitive rider.

"And I believe Jorge is the next generation, so of course I would like to keep both for obvious reasons. At this time we have no motivation or desire to look elsewhere with all the talent we have in our ranks.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt